Short lived (five weeks) show about a secret law enforcement group in Wildside County, California in the Old West. The five are Brodie and Sutton Hollister, Bannister Sparks, Varges De La Cosa and Prometheus Jones. Their job is to eliminate the various villians in the area Written by
J.E. McKillop <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Tom Greene's "Wildside" totally takes its place as not only one of the top ten best Westerns of all times... but as one of the all time classics... a top ten in ANY category! I've already talked about this in the "Amazon" website review, but I wanted to let loose here in IMDB for those who may not get there. I talk about Wildside as if it were a feature film, since when I first saw it on TV as a Mini-Series, I was totally taken by the depth of emotion, the smart dialogue, quirky, totally original characters, the humor, and best of all, the production values. I kept forgetting when talking to people about Wildside, that I didn't see it on the big screen... since everything about the six hours of delightful entertainment is larger than life... and so very cinematic. From the very first scene, all done without dialogue were "Hatchet's" gang blow up a safe at a bank... and show how totally mean they really are (you just have to watch what they do to the little boy's goldfish!), you know you're watching an intelligent, well-crafted piece of work that knows when to go for the laughs, when to go for the heart, and when to go for the throat! Many of the actors went on to superstardom... like Meg Ryan, and Howard Rollins and James Cromwell to name just a few that I remember, but honestly I don't think I've ever seen any of them do better work than right here. Especially Meg. There are also just great classic actors, like William Smith (playing a really wonderful good guy, which I don't think he's ever done then or since... and it's amazing how much he reminds me of "Hipshot Percussion" from the old "Rick O'Shay" western cartoon strip!) and Buck Taylor and Geoffrey Lewis, and that Indian from "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest"... and many great faces that you've seen now and then... all of them showing off the kinds of characterizations and acting ability that you just don't see in TV. I guess because they are all true hero's... with 3D backstories, and motivations that make everything they do totally understandable. One of the best of all the characters is played by actress Robin Hoff, who I haven't seen before or since, in one of the most brilliant parts I've ever seen on TV... playing the town's undertaker as if she was the head of the Varsity High School Cheerleading Squad! Total inspiration! And her love scenes in her funeral parlor with the sexy gaucho, played by John DiAquino, are pure genius! Anyone who has ideas of being an actor, a writer or a director should study Wildside... it doesn't get any better. Why this was only a Mini-Series is anyone's guess. I could see it on the air for as long as, let's say Gunsmoke or Bonanza. One other point... you don't have to be a western fan to love this show. Though in my opinion it's the most successful and faithful western every put on the small screen, it is more about people and situations than about guns and horses. There is one episode in which Howard Rollins is about to propose to the love-of-his-life, only to discover the next morning that she has died, and therefore so shocked with grief that he can not accept the fact that it was "natural causes", and instead goes off on an almost suicidal search for "the killer" (not realizing that the "killer" is simply life's fate). If ever there was a more magnificent tone-poem about love and grief and forgiveness and acceptance... I can't find it. The scene with Howard and Meg Ryan, where she tries to explain the realities of life to him is by far the most brilliant acted, directed and written moments of truth you will ever experience. And if you're not a babbling puddle of tears with a lump in your throat the size of Monument Valley at the end of that episode, where Howard says good-bye to his dead love, talking to the trees and stars... then you must be dead yourself! Am I going overboard with my praise? I don't think so. See for yourself. The test of a classic is one that once you start looking at it, you can't stop watching, and even if you have it on video, even if you've just seen it, if your "flipping around the TV, and it's on again, you sit and watch it, and can't STOP watching it (i.e.: "The Godfather I & 2). Wildside is such a piece. And once you've experienced it, you'll find that the characters all stay with you like great old friends (I espeically LOVE legendary wrestler Terry Funk as one of the "Wildside" five! Tell me if you've ever seen such a huggable teddy bear!)Special note should be paid also to the attention to detail and close-up work. And very special attention should be made to the art direction and to Ozzie Smith's camera work. Watch it and tell me when you've seen anything this good!
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